New Zealand Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand.
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Editor’s Note: Here below is a list of the main issues currently under discussion in New Zealand and links to media coverage. You can sign up to NZ Politics Daily as well as New Zealand Political Roundup columns for free here.

Today’s content

End of elimination strategy, alert left changes
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): ‘Prepare for the inevitability of community transmission’
Derek Cheng (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s gamble that puts young Māori, Pasifika on the Delta frontline (paywalled)
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Ardern’s elimination retreat a political tipping point
Richard Harman (Politik): Ardern supporters turn on her (paywalled)
No Right Turn: Surrendering to the virus
Science Media Centre: Staged easing of Auckland’s restrictions – Expert Reaction
Jamie Morton (Herald): Easing lockdown spells more spread, more cases – modeller
1 News: Siouxsie Wiles ‘gutted’ as strict Level 3 rules ease
Jamie Morton (Herald): Experts’ ideas: Is this how NZ can hold off Delta?
Jamie Morton (Herald): What will ‘endemic’ coronavirus look like? (paywalled)
Brook Sabin (Stuff): The Auckland border is too weak and won’t contain the virus
Matthew Hooton (Patreon): Did David Seymour just become Prime Minister?(paywalled)
1 News: Covid phasing system ‘slightly confusing’ – Michael Baker
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Jacinda Ardern releases unclear road map, experts say community transmission new normal
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): ‘It feels like this has been looming over us’ – health workers on easing Covid-19 restrictions
Jack Tame (1 News): Govt’s Covid-19 strategy a roadmap with no signs
Tova O’Brien (Newshub): A major milestone for New Zealand: The COVID-19 elimination strategy is dead
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Elimination may be dead but Auckland’s lockdown is very much alive – and lingering
Bernard Hickey (The Kākā): Dawn Chorus: Two more months of lockdowns (paywalled)
Stuff Editorial: Step outside and say that – Govt offers stepped relief
Herald: Editorial: Transtasman neighbours have same basic pandemic goal (paywalled)
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Covid carrot? How about a semi-normal Christmas? (paywalled)
Simon Wilson (Herald): Three steps and one last chance – our Covid dilemma now (paywalled)
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): The roadmap for Auckland is like a road to nowhere – it has no finite end
Jenée Tibshraeny (Interest): Scientists warn of risks, while politicians raise concerns around the Government’s plan to loosen restrictions in Auckland
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Jacinda tries to serve two masters and fails both
Jane Nixon (1 News): ACT, Greens, National react to Govt’s Covid roadmap
RNZ: Government’s Covid-19 roadmap slammed by other parties
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Opposition parties against Government’s three-step plan for Auckland
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland’s long and winding Covid-19 road with no clear end in sight
Laura Walters (Stuff): From us down here, to you up there: You’ve got this
Andrew Slater (Herald):  Leaving the pain of lockdown behind (paywalled)
Juliet Speedy (Newshub): Epidemiologist calls for harder border to protect South Island from COVID – but Prime Minister rules it out
Danielle Clent (Stuff): Concern for vulnerable communities as Govt announces lockdown exit strategy
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff): Covid is coming so get vaccinated now Taranaki, says TDHB vaccine boss
Sahiban Hyde ((Herald/Hawkes Bay Today): Napier Port CEO says Delta’s arrival in Hawke’s Bay is ‘imminent’. How prepared are we? (paywalled)
Samantha Gee (RNZ): South Island businesses frustrated at lack of level change
Chris Tobin (Stuff): South Island needs to be in Covid-19 alert level 1, South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce says
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Lifting the 100-person cap too little, too late for Southland hospitality businesses
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Eva Corlett (Guardian): New Zealand Covid elimination strategy to be phased out, Ardern says
1 News: Robertson responds to confusion over roadmap out of lockdown
Newstalk ZB: Covid response minister Chris Hipkins admits zero Covid cases are a thing of the past
RNZ: The 3 steps to easing Auckland restrictions: what you need to know
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Government reveals three-step ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown restrictions for Auckland
Alice Neville (Spinoff): New Covid roadmap for Auckland: restrictions to be ‘eased’ in three steps – all you need to know
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): Auckland is moving to alert level 2.75, aka level three step one. What are the new rules?
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Jacinda Ardern promises easing of some restrictions under transition plan
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): PM Jacinda Ardern refuses to say whether elimination still the goal in Auckland, admits NZ in awkward ‘transition’ in tense interview

Vaccine rollout
Rod Jackson (The Conversation): NZ needs a more urgent vaccination plan — with nearly 80% now single-dosed, the majority will support it
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Vaccination NOW: No Citizen Left Behind
Chris Ford (RNZ): Vaccination passport inequities: Freedom for many, but not for some
Rod Jackson (Stuff): We need a more urgent vaccination plan – and most Kiwis would support it
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Government considers mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers as early learning centres prepare to reopen
Herald: Government needs to make vaccination mandatory for workers – Auckland’s Chamber of Commerce says
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Parents get no vaccine guarantee for school holidays
Lana Andelane (Newshub): What New Zealand can learn from Ireland’s leading vaccination campaign
Sharnae Hope (Stuff): In Waikato’s ‘anti-vaxville’, a change of heart as Covid-19 comes close to home
David Williams (Newsroom): Jabs lag in Christchurch’s east
Devon Bolger (Herald): Top six most vaccinated districts all in South Island
Cate Broughton (Stuff): ‘Mana enhancing’ marae vaccine clinics helping raise jab numbers
Richard Walker (Stuff): ‘This is in our backyard’ – Māori health leader’s plea for vaccination
Peter O’Connor (Newsroom): Vaccinate now and let children out of lockdown
Daniel Smith (Stuff): Golden Bay cafe hiring only unvaccinated workers, makes vaccinated customers sit outside
Julia Czerwonatis (Herald): Northland vaccine rollout behind national average, health providers target rural areas

Testing
Luke Kirkeby (Stuff): Residents turned away from overrun Hamilton testing station
Rachel Sadler (Newshub): Auckland testing centre security guard seen shaking hands, talking to someone with no mask
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): Call to ramp up mobile testing in Auckland’s suburbs of interest

Alert level rules, compliance, enforcement, anti-lockdown protests
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): Cops made a massive misjudgment on Brian Tamaki
Tova O’Brien and Zane Small (Newshub): Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki set to face charges over anti-lockdown protest
Nathan Morton (Stuff): Police ‘considering charges’ over Brian Tamaki-led lockdown protest
1 News: Police consider charges over Brian Tamaki led Auckland anti-lockdown protest
Newstalk ZB: Police Assn president: ‘Disappointed’ if charges weren’t laid against lockdown protesters
Lincoln Tan (Herald): Defiant Brian Tamaki says NZ should be thankful for anti-lockdown protest
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Thousands sign petition calling for Brian Tamaki to be charged over anti-lockdown protest, City Impact Church founder called out for promoting event
Zane Small (Newshub): National leader Judith Collins would not have allowed Brian Tamaki’s anti-lockdown protest in Auckland
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Brian Tamaki’s crowd urged to learn from south Auckland churches, Sikh and Muslim communities and do ‘something positive’
—————
Leonie Hayden (Spinoff): To the maskless and entitled of Ponsonby and Herne Bay
Catrin Owen (Stuff): YouTuber’s internet ban relaxed but he cannot use it to promote anti-lockdown activity

Business, economy, employment, wage subsidy
Liam Dann (Herald): Lockdown call signals longer grind for economy (paywalled)
Liam Dann (Herald): Economic outlook dims as NZ moves away from ‘zero-Covid’ strategy – BNZ (paywalled)
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): Where are the rewards? Business groups left confused by the road map
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Hospitality sector devastated Auckland to remain at level 3 under revised restrictions
Adam Pearse (Herald): ‘Nail in the coffin’ – Hospitality NZ head devastated by alert level decision
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Auckland hospitality businesses call on the Government to provide the wage subsidy at level 2
Liu Chen (RNZ): Auckland hospitality businesses digging deep to stay afloat
Nadine Porter, Liz McDonald, Jonathan Guildford and Ellen O’Dwyer (Stuff): Frustrations at Covid level 2 status quo: Event managers and businesses stuck in limbo
1 News: ‘Nightmare’ – Waikato businesses suffer amid Covid outbreak
Anan Zaki (RNZ): Untaken leave in lockdown risking burnout and balance sheets
Gyles Beckford (RNZ): Will Reserve Bank raise the cash rate?
Greg Smith (Stuff): The Reserve Bank of NZ is readying to roll out the inflation vaccine
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): NZ jobs market runs hot, untouched by lockdown, says Trade Me

Border, MIQ
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Police arrest COVID-19 positive man who escaped from Jet Park quarantine hotel
1 News: Covid-positive person apprehended after escaping Auckland MIQ facility
Mina Kerr-Lazenby (Stuff): Man with Covid-19 in custody after escaping Auckland quarantine facility
Stuff: Investigation after member of the public entered MIQ facility without permission
Lee Kenny (Stuff): Change law to protect Kiwi pensioners stranded offshore, says Winston Peters
Stuff: Petition calling for fairer managed isolation attracts nearly 23,000 signatures
Thomas Bywater (Herald): Christmas in February: Vaccines high on wish list as travel restart hinted

Waikato and Palmerston North cases
Matthew Scott (Newsroom): Hamilton’s less than impenetrable border
Luke Kirkness (Herald): Business owners keeping eagle eye on developing Waikato outbreak (paywalled)
RNZ: NZR had ‘clear instruction’ on moving Waikato teams
1 News: Hamilton testing pop-ups at capacity after new Covid cases
Karen Rutherford (Newshub): Hoards of Raglan residents turn up for testing but locals fear COVID’s spread beyond Waikato
Lana Andelane and Perry Wilton (Newshub): Raglan residents ‘escape’ town to avoid alert level 3 as parts of Waikato enter five-day lockdown
Lawrence Gullery (Stuff): We might as well be in lockdown – Cambridge business split from staff, customers

Water reforms
Graham Adams (Democracy Project): The government is stumbling towards disaster over Three Waters
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Water entity concerns run too deep to just press ahead, says Federated Farmers
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Three waters: Next foreshore and seabed or essential reform (paywalled)
Russell Palmer (RNZ): Three waters: What you need to know
Sam Kelway (1 News): Tauranga protesters call for Three Waters to be axed
Kiri Gillespie (Herald): Protesters gather at Tauranga City Council despite level 2, objecting to Three Waters
Whanganui Chronicle: Three waters: Council wants clear information on ‘biggest change in decades’
Mike Yardley (Stuff): Surely Three Waters comes down to a captain’s call?

Local government
Moana Ellis (RNZ): Māori ward advocates plan hīkoi protest against Ruapehu District Council
Logan Savory (Stuff): Invercargill Deputy Mayor: Councils should have mayoral by-election option
Tina Law (Stuff): Race to elect new Christchurch city councillor struggles to attract voters
Lois Williams (Local Democracy Reporting): Mapping of West Coast SNAs to go ahead despite objections
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): Are bendy buses the answer to Wellington’s transport woes? 

Employment, migrant workers
Johnny Blades (RNZ): Seasonal work during pandemic not easy for ni-Vanuatu
Herald: First RSE workers arrive from Vanuatu

Environment, climate change, conservation
Steven Walton (Stuff): Climate change agreement may lead to ‘zero emission zones’ in Christchurch
Bonnie Flaws (Stuff): Environmental Protection Authority proposes phase out of controversial agrichemical within five years
Phil McCabe and James Hita (Guardian): New Zealand ruling against deep-sea mining set a global precedent – now Ardern should ban it
RNZ: NZ govt urged to ban seabed mining for Pacific’s sake

Justice
Guyon Espiner (RNZ): $40m of public money for private law firms
No Right Turn: We should not be outsourcing prosecutions
Emma Hatton (RNZ): Defence will focus on four issues for Ellis appeal, Supreme Court told
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Chief Justice now subject of complaint to Judicial Conduct Commissioner over heads of bench case
MIchael Andrew (BusinessDesk): Law Commission supports class actions regime (paywalled)

Pandora Papers
1 News: Katie Bradford, Matt Nippert explain Pandora Papers
Keith Ng and Matt Nippert (Herald): Pandora Papers: Billionaires accused of fraud in Russia used New Zealand trusts to hold assets offshore (paywalled)
Matt Nippert (Herald): Pandora Papers: Plans to reform a New Zealand tax loophole stalled ‘due to lack of resources’ (paywalled)
No Right Turn: A financial fence

Parliament
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Roy Morgan poll September 2021
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Beefed-up law change for Bill of Rights inconsistencies
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Minister bucks trend and returns to Auckland

Billy Te Kahika 
Jean Bell (RNZ): Billy Te Kahika faces deception and electoral charges
Catrin Owen (Stuff): Billy Te Kahika faces jury trial, charged with filing false electoral donations and obtaining by deception
John Weekes (Herald): Billy Te Kahika Jr to have jury trial for fraud, Electoral Act charges

Education
Josephine Franks (Stuff): Early childhood sector split over whether reopening in Auckland is a good idea 
Zoe Holland (Herald): Early Childhood Council calls for clarity before opening on Wednesday
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Low enrolments at special schools drive high per-student cost
Hannah Kronast (Newshub): Over 100 educational psychologists issue month-long strike notice over ‘workforce crisis’
Hannah Martin (Stuff): More than 100 Ministry of Education psychologists to strike due to staffing ‘crisis’

Oranga Tamariki
Ian Hyslop (Newsroom): New Oranga Tamariki report a mixed bag
Mihingarangi Forbes (Newshub): Much of Oranga Tamariki decision-making to be in hands of communities – Kelvin Davis

Health
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): New Zealand’s suicide rate drops for second consecutive year
Steven Walton (Stuff): Drop in number of suspected suicides ‘heartening’, chief coroner says
1 News: Baby suffers brain injury after mix-up between ambulance and midwife
RNZ: Systemic change needed after baby suffers brain injury, HDC says
Herald: Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner calls for co-ordination to improve patient safety
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): Urgent moratorium request from pharmacies denied

Foreign affairs, trade
Mike Smith (The Standard): The AUKUS Shell-game
Andrew McRae (RNZ): Govt urged to speed up visa process for stranded Afghans

Housing, property investment, tenancy rules
D’Angelo Martin (Newshub): Housing: Young Māori struggling to get on housing ladder as homeownership dramatically declines

Media
Gavin Ellis (Knightly Views): Media lessons from a pandemic
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Why cancelling your Herald subscription because of Kerre McIvor & HDA is woke insecurity
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): A conversation about the (lack of) rules for Facebook and Google in Aotearoa

Other
Duncan Garner (NBR): Sir Ruthless sabotages Crusher, schools Ardern. Why? (paywalled)
Taroi Black (Māori TV): Construction blocked over controversial Erebus monument
Karl du Fresne: Another story for the media to ignore?
Bob McCoskrie: 3 to 1 opposition to the ‘birth certificate’ bill
Garth Bray (1 News): Fair Go: Comparing prices at major supermarkets
RNZ: Paralympics NZ selling TV ad in hope of more commercial opportunities

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